Pharmaltitude: Summits in sun care
Text: Pierre Antoine Zahnd | Photo: Pharmaltitude
With over 50 years of experience, Pharmaltitude is a leading player in the world of sun protection, particularly in extreme conditions. Its founder, Micheline Bosserelle, an early expert in the industry, developed the first sun cream for high altitudes, and has since continued to innovate in the field.
Micheline Bosserelle’s history with high-performance skin protection was milestoned with adventure and discovery. Originally trained in cosmetics, Micheline was later introduced to mountaineering in 1969, where she found that proper sun protection for very high altitudes had not yet been developed. As Micheline herself puts it in conversation, she “liked the challenge of doing something that nobody had been able to do”. Setting about to work on what is now 8882, Pharmaltitude’s flagship product, she teamed up with a laboratory to develop a product that could offer the levels of protection suited to the world’s highest peaks.
She conceived one of the key ingredients to her preparation while in the Caribbean. Learning that turtle liver oil was traditionally used for skin protection, she adapted the idea to a vegan, plant-based substitute to avoid interfering with the fauna. The result, chélonine, comes from the Greek world for ‘turtle’ and bears similar beneficial effect when it comes to skin health.
Combining chélonine with state-of-the-art sun filters, she decided to try out the efficiency of her formula on herself: in sunny conditions, she climbed up the Aiguille du Midi, an iconic summit of the Mont Blanc massif in the French Alps, towering at 3840 metres. By 1969, she had created her company and the 8882 sunscreen, a reference to what was then accepted as the Everest’s altitude, and a sign of her dedication to the highest levels of skin protection.
Pharmaltitude is now well-established as the reference point in high-altitude sun protection. The brand has been selected by the medical commission of the French Olympic Committee since 2014, the last time for Pyeongchang in 2018. But Micheline has also developed a wide range of other sun products, covering various levels of protection for diverse activities (everyday use, hiking, or a day at the beach). This selection also includes lip balms, after-sun creams and sunglasses, extending the brand’s expertise into the broader sphere of sun protection and skin care. And as a small company recognised for its expertise, Pharmaltitude welcomes contact from potential collaborators abroad.
Subscribe to Our Newsletter
Receive our monthly newsletter by email